Latest Rail News

RailAmerica has reached an agreement to acquire Atlas Railroad Construction Company and related assets for $21.5 million in cash plus closing adjustments for working capital, which are estimated to be approximately $2.5 million. The transaction is expected to close July 1, 2010. Founded in 1954, Atlas is a railroad engineering, construction, maintenance and repair company operating primarily in the U.S. Midwest and Northeast. Atlas provides railroad construction services principally to public-transit agencies, industrial customers, and short line and regional railroads.

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Every weekday morning, Peter Myung of Wheaton takes a Metra train to work, the Chicago Tribune reports. But even when he arrives at the downtown Wheaton station on time, he's at risk of missing his train. That's because the Metra platform is on the north side of the adjacent Union Pacific tracks; the commuter parking lot where Myung parks his car is on the south side. When a passing freight train blocks the nearby West Street crossing, Myung and other commuters must wait for it to pass. But starting next year, Myung will be able to take a shortcut across the tracks and won't risk missing his train.

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The Worcester, Mass., City Council has overwhelmingly approved in concept CSX Transportation's plan to expand its freight yard between Shrewsbury and Franklin streets and make the city its new rail freight hub for New England, the Telegram & Gazette reports. But the project is anything but finalized; in fact, final city action on it may not take place for at least another couple of months.

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Starting early July 2010, construction crews will start earthquake-strengthening work inside BART's West Oakland Station. Crews will construct scaffolding and enclosures around work areas and at times will need to temporarily change pedestrian access inside the station. This means it may take customers longer to make their way through the station and around the work areas.

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On July 7, 2010, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) will begin to improve eight Caltrain crossings located in Sunnyvale, Mountain View and Palo Alto, Calif. The improvements will make crossings safer for pedestrians, bicycles and automobiles and will include the following safety features: modified railroad crossing gates, newly-installed guardrails, fences, pedestrian and emergency swing gates, sidewalks, crossing panels and warning tactile panels to assist the visually impaired.

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The Los Angeles Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension Project was presented with the 2010 Outstanding Project of the Year Award by the Underground Construction Association of Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration at the North American Tunneling Conference held June 20 in Portland, Ore.

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Timothy Reynolds has been named a Senior Principal Technical Specialist in the Cincinnati office of Parsons Brinckerhoff. In his new position, Reynolds will be responsible for rail and transit services and operations planning and will support environmental analysis and multimodal planning. He is currently serving in key roles on the Cincinnati streetcar and Ohio 3-C Corridor Passenger Rail Plan projects.

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BNSF has invested some time and money on the Fairview Avenue crossing in Downers Grove, Ill.,, but some residents claim there has not been an improvement, according to the Downers Grove Reporter.

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood commended the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee for reporting out the Obama Administration's transit safety bill, the first transit-specific safety bill ever sent to Congress by any administration, by a unanimous vote. The bill now goes to the Senate floor.

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Drakontas LLC, a company that develops situation awareness and wireless communications tools for first responders, law enforcement and homeland defense, formally demonstrated its prototype wireless emergency messaging solution for transit passengers in subway tunnels on June 29. The 30-minute demonstration showcased the messaging platform capability inside a passenger train at PATCO's 8th and Market Station in Center City Philadelphia.

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